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Wine stores: Supersizing matters?

You think that cozy spot around the corner is the perfect little wine bar? That’s no wine bar, mate. This is a wine bar: 22,000 square feet of wine bar. It’s called Urban Enoteca, and it’s a sign that its industrial location, three miles south of downtown, is no impediment.

But who needs 22,000 square feet? Terry Thompson does. He used to own another company in this space, custom-desiged hotel interiors, that required lots of square footage. Now he’s transformed the showrooms into a “tasting center,” several private event venues, a full restaurant kitchen, and a 114-seat café.

Seven wineries are already on hand: well-etablished houses like McCrea, Kiona, Fidelitas, and Cave B; newcomers like Côte Bonneville, Fielding Hills and Five Star, but none with a “westside” presence. As a further draw, Urban Enoteca has teamed up with Jason Wilson of Crush, much in demand as a consulting chef these days. “We hope to be a total package,” Thompson told his opening night guests at Urban Enoteca, 4130 First Ave. S.

Well, it’s not the only big new store. Sommelier David Leclaire, a longtime fixture on Seattle’s wine scene, has gone full throttle into retail sales, with a 20,000 square foot facility just off Interstate 5 at 400 NE 45th St. called Wine World Warehouse. Wine and more wine for now, some 6,000 labels, but if Washington ever gets rid of the Liquor Board, spirits as well. In other words, a superstore just like California. Gulp!

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